Hogg spared Glens' blushes, insists Heatley
Crusaders 1 - Glentoran 0
Little Paul Heatley could have walked away form Seaview with the match ball, but instead left with battered pride!
The 24-year-old had enough chances to catapult him to the top of the goal charts, only to come up against an inspired goalkeeper in Glentoran's Aaron Hogg.
Skipper Colin Coates did manage to get one over his former team mate, however – a cracking first half free kick that fizzed into the net, leaving Hogg a mere spectator for once.
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Heatley was brave enough to tip his cap at Hogg for a job well done.
"I think the goalkeeper was simply outstanding," he said.
"If you analyse the chances, I hit the target every time – I got good connection on the ball. There were no mis-hit shots or scuffs.
"It was just one of those days that the ball just wouldn't go into the net for me.
"I don't want to take anything away from big Hoggie. He was immense. He prevented his team from falling to an embarrassing result.
"I certainly think he deserves a lot of credit, even though I'm really disappointed I didn't leave with the match ball."
Crusaders should really have been out of sight by half time and the onslaught continued after the break, as did the personal duel between Hogg and Heatley.
"I'll certainly not let the missed chances affect me," added the former Carrick Rangers winger.
"I'll bounce back and get back on the goal scoring trail, once I return from a two game suspension.
"Hoggie also pulled off some wonder saves to deny Gavin (Whyte) and big Jordan (Owens).
"I thought we were outstanding as a team from one to 11. The subs also did their jobs. We played some great football and created so many chances, it was frightening.
"It really could have been an embarrassing score, but Hoggie kept them it and pulled off some fantastic reaction saves."
Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson admitted his team were taught a harsh lesson over the 90 minutes.
"They caught us out with balls over the top too easily," he moaned.
"It's something our defence has got to deal with. We spoke before the game about conceding silly free kicks. But it was a free kick that undone us.
"The instruction was not taken on board and it cost us dearly. We have been conceding too many goals from set-plays in recent games.
"That's the hurtful thing because we are a young side. Whether it's a lack of focus or a lack of concentration, I don't know.
"You can make all the excuses about being a young side, being inexperienced, but the penny has got to drop some time.
"Yes, Crusaders could have been out of sight in terms of chances but, at 1-0, we were still in with a shout of getting something from the game.
"We played some decent football, but failed with the quality ball in the final third of the pitch."